Brewers hope to have Braun in series opener against Giants

The Milwaukee Brewers could be without reigning National League Most Valuable Player Ryan Braun this evening when they start a three- game series with the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park.

Braun was forced to leave Wednesday's 5-0 loss to San Diego with a right Achilles injury he suffered sliding into second base.

"It's just a little sore," Braun said. "We'll see how it feels."

Milwaukee could ill afford to lose Braun, as the Brewers come into tonight's opener on the heels of being blanked in their last two games. The team hasn't been shut out in three straight since was May 3-6, 1972.

Now they face two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, who seems to be finding his form after an awful start. After two losses and a 10.54 through three starts, Lincecum has won each of his last two outings and has allowed just one earned run in doing so to lower his ERA on the year to 5.74.

Lincecum was terrific against San Diego on Saturday, as he held them to an unearned run and three hits in eight innings. He did walk four batters and has issued nine free passes in his last two starts.

"Mentally I just felt a little more into the game from beginning to end," Lincecum said Saturday. "I'll just try not to overthink anything between now and next start. Hopefully it builds off itself."

Lincecum has faced the Brewers eight times and is 3-3 with a 4.50 ERA against them.

He'll be opposed by a pretty good pitcher in his own right in former AL Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke, who will be making his first-ever start against the Giants.

Greinke won his second straight start on Sunday in St. Louis, as he allowed a run and seven hits in six innings. He also struggled with his command a bit and walked four batters in that one.

Greinke will be facing a Giants team that comes into tonight's contest limping following a three-game sweep at the hands of the Miami Marlins. And to make matters worse, San Francisco learned before their 3-2 loss on Thursday that third baseman Pablo Sandoval would be lost for four-to-six weeks with a fractured left hamate bone.

"You just don't replace a guy like Pablo," manager Bruce Bochy said. "The guy was on the All-Star team last year. There are few guys in Major League Baseball who can do things he can do with the bat."

Milwaukee split its six meetings with the Giants last season, but has lost three of its last four in San Francisco.